This is the first installment in a series of four sonnets.
Read the second here, the third here, and the fourth here.

Oft have I seen at some cathedral-door
A laborer, pausing in the dust and heat,
Lay down his burden, and with reverent feet
Enter, and cross himself, and on the floor
Kneel to repeat his pater-noster o’er;
Far off the noises of the world retreat;
The loud vociferations of the street
Become an undistinguishable roar.
So, as I enter here from day to day,
And leave my burden at this minster-gate,
Kneeling in prayer, and not ashamed to pray,
The tumult of the time disconsolate
To inarticulate murmurs dies away,
While the eternal ages watch and wait.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.